Sweet briar (Rosa rubiginosa) is a native of Europe. A member of the rose family, it was introduced into Australia by early white settlers because of its attractive flowers. Widely planted, it is now well established particularly in the cooler, high rainfall areas of New South Wales.  

Sweet briar is spread by fruit-eating animals and birds. Seed material is also spread by floodwaters. Sweet briar is very invasive – the thorny plants can severely reduce a property’s stock-carrying capacity. 

Sweet briar in seed Elsmore area NSW

Sweet briar in seed Elsmore area NSW


The main problem with sweet briar is its invasiveness. It takes over shaded areas first (where the birds and animals drop the seeds) and keeps spreading. When you look at the photo (right) of a large, fruiting plant, it is easy to see how easily the plants keep spreading. And, of course, property boundary fences don’t keep the birds in!




Sweet briar is a rose bush. It is a thorny plant, producing white or pink flowers during late spring. The fruit, shown in the photograph at right, matures in late summer and is shed in autumn. Each fruit contains a large number of seeds – the seeds can remain viable in the ground for up to four years.

NWW93011WX sweet briar plants

NWW93011 sweet briar plants Elsmore NSW

MORE INFORMATION: Includes Noxious Plants of Australia, by Parsons and Cutherbertson (Inkata Press).


Non-Chemical Options: Plants can be removed by hand grubbing or removal with a tractor and chain if the ground is wet. Repeated cultivation is effective because ploughing eventually takes care of most of the root system.

NWW93010WX sweet briar plants

NWW93010 sweet briar plants Gum Flat NSW

Grazing management using sheep or particularly goats can be an effective means of controlling sweet briar.

Chemical Options: October – November are usually the best months for treatment of sweet briar in north west New South Wales – as long as the plants are not moisture-stressed. Plants need to be actively growing.

According to NSW DPI’s excellent booklet “Noxious and Environmental Weed Control Handbook 5th Edition”, treatments for sweet briar include:

Chemical options Rate: Spot/Boom Comments
Metsulfuron-methyl 600g/L  PLUS Triclopyr 300 g/L + picloram + aminopyralid 8 g/L – Grazon Extra® 500 ml in 100 L of water Foolia application for plants up to 1.5m tall
Triclopyr 300 g/L+picloram 100 g/L Various trade names eg Grazon DS® 500 ml in 100 L of water Full leaf to ripe fruit prior to leaf fall. Use higher rates on plants taller than 1.5m.
Triclopyr 240 g/L+picloram 120 g/L Access® 1.0 L in 60 L of diesel Apply as basal bark/cut stump application
Triclopyr 600 g/L Various trade names 1.0 L in 30 L of diesel Apply as basal bark/cut stump application
2,4-D 300 g/L + picloram 240 g/L eg Tordon 75 D® 650 ml in 100 L of water Full leaf as an overall spray
Glyphosate 360 g/L Various trade names 1.5 to 2.0 L in 100 L of water Spray to wet all foliage, from late flowering to leaf fall. Use higher rate on bushes over 1.5 m high.
Metsulfuron-methyl Various trade names 10 g in 100 L of water Apply to actively growing bushes to point of run off. Do not apply after end of February
Metsulfuron-methyl 10 g/kg + glyphosate 835 g/kg Trounce® 1 measured pack (173 g) in 100 L water Apply as close to the flowering period as possible
Metsulfuron-methyl 63.2 g/kg + glyphosate 760.5 g/kg Cut-out® 1 measured pack (95 g) in 100 L water Apply as close to the flowering period as possible
Hexazinone eg Velpar L® Undiluted (4 ml per spot) One spot per metre of height. Do not apply near desirable trees.
Picloram 45 g/kg Vigilant® Undiluted Cut stump/stem injection application. Apply a 3–5 mm layer of gel for stems less than 20 mm. Apply 5 mm layer on stems above 20 mm (see label)


Pesticides must only be used for the purpose for which they are registered and must not be used in any other situation or in any manner contrary to the directions on the label. Never use a herbicide in any way contrary to the label recommendations.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this web site is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that information upon which they rely is up to date and to check currency of the information with the appropriate officer of North West Weeds or the user’s independent adviser. LRT 14/08/2015